Link to Western Michigan University HomepageWestern Michigan University bannerLink to Library Homepage

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Libraries Expand WMU Presence in DPLA

Eighteen unique WMU-held historical collections are now part of a national digital library database completing a large library metadata project.

Images from WMU Libraries digital collections have been harvested into the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), a major online national library initiative. This makes our local digital collections more widely available across the US and globally. Topics range from beer and food to Civil War diaries to Medieval Manuscripts and midcentury - midwest photos.

Western’s contributions include these 14 collections: Beer, Food, and Home Comfort: Domestic Collections at WMU, Caroline Bartlett Crane Everyman's House Collection, Cistercian Liturgy Series, Liturgy O.C.S.O. Journal of Gethsemani Abbey, Cistercian Reference Works, Costume History Collection, Medieval Document Collection, Medieval Manuscript Variants in Aelfric of Eynsham's Catholic Homilies, South Asia Map Collection, South Haven Michigan Lighthouse Logs, United States Civil War Collection, World War I and World War II: Personal Narratives, World War II Propaganda Collections, Ward Morgan Photography Collection.

Many are primary history documents only found at the local level in archives and rare book rooms where WMU has valuable contributions. These documents are available to the public eye, allowing students, researchers, or anyone who is curious to have access to historic documents from around the country. To accomplish this, the DPLA has stationed “hubs” in various areas of America. Each hub is comprised of participating surrounding libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies. The Michigan Service Hub is shared by the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, and the Library of Michigan.

WMU Libraries Metadata and Digital Resources Specialist, Marianne Swierenga stated that “The best thing about having [Western Michigan University’s] materials in the DPLA is that they are now in a shared space with many of our country's best digital collections, and a researcher can now make connections they may not have before or find something they didn't even know was out there. It's a serendipitous search experience. Hopefully it will allow new people to discover our local digital collections”. The Digital Public Library of America has over 16 million unique digital documents from 120 institutions.

WMU works are found here:

DPLA’s home page: